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From Caterpillar to Butterfly

Insect Lore Butterfly Garden -  Insect Lore - Toys"R"Us

One of my students bought the kit above at his church yard sale. He graciously donated it to the class!! He brought the kit in and said the caterpillars will be here in a week or so. This was the first time I had heard anything about having butterflies! I had never even planned to talk about butterfly life cycles! I quickly Googled how to take care of them and what to do with the caterpillars. (Of course he had misplaced the instructions;) 

When the little guys arrived, they were in this gross solid-looking brown goop. I discovered that was their food! These guys came all set up with everything they needed! There was no way I could kill them!
The class began to add observations into their daily morning work routine. I created an observation booklet that the students have kept in their morning work folder.
Click here to Download your observation booklet!

It was not long before the caterpillars began to form their chrysalis. I had never seen a butterfly inside their chrysalis! I was just as excited as the students! I also noticed their brown goopy food had been eaten...a lot!
Reminds me of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

We ended up with two hanging and two on the floor of the cup. The instructions said to leave the caterpillars alone for at least two days so the chrysalis could harden. There was supposed to be a cardboard disc that the caterpillars could hang on and that could be easily removed to place them in their net. This was missing so we had to improvise!

I took the two that were hanging, and very very slowly placed them inside the net. I had the student that donated them move the two that were on the floor of the cup. He said they felt pretty hard.  We placed them on the bottom of the net, on top of a paper towel. I wish I could have figured out how to hang them, so if you have any tips for next year please let me know!! When I left for the weekend, after a week of no action, I placed a Cutie (orange) in the bottom of the net just in case one decided to come out. 
We moved them from the cup to the net on the 17th. Today, the 29th, our first butterfly emerged from his chrysalis!!!! One of the students noticed before I did. I was just telling my husband that I thought they were dead. I was happily proven wrong! 
They kept saying the red stuff was blood..
He was folded up and griping his chrysalis. I placed two water bottle caps full of sugar water along with the oranges so they would have plenty to eat. We talked more about the butterfly life cycle and I found an awesome Webquest on Teachers Pay Teachers that was free.
Click here to find it!

It was created in PowerPoint and has two links to YouTube, one a caterpillar song, the other a cartoon about the life cycle. It has a link to a vocabulary game. The game was perfect for second grade or third grade. The videos were better suited for first, but that did not stop my students from singing along afterwards! There was a game where the students had to place the life cycle pictures in the right order and a link to Eric Carle reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

 The kids just love checking out the butterflies each day!

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